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sunbeam stiletto in proper lettering

Sunbeam Stiletto

October 1967 - mid 1972

The Sunbeam Stiletto is considered by many to be the most desirable, certainly the most sought after, Imp model. It's name probably has something to do with the existing Sunbeam Rapier, shrink a rapier and it becomes a stiletto (medieval dagger with a very slim blade, elegant and wicked).
It combined the sleek coupé lines of the Californian and the engine of the Imp Sport. The Stiletto had four headlights as standard, along with a vinyl roof (always black Leathercloth). The dashboard is the most noticeable difference with the interior. This large, black, moulded piece of engineering (peculiar only to this model) featured novel ideas such as warning lights which can be dipped for night time driving.
All Stiletto finishes have white twin coachlines - except Polar White, which has twin red.
Stiletto models only had wheels paint black. They had the Sunbeam stainless steel wheel trims as standard.

metallic blue stiletto
Well restored Stiletto (non-standard)
photo taken by Ken Pape at National Day 1996

The differences between the two types
'Rootes' Stiletto 'Chrysler' Stiletto
production year Oct. 1967 - 1968 1969 - summer 1972
chassis no. 301 series 302 series
sill a stainless steel strip fitted along the top of the
full length of sill, just below the bottom of door line.
door skin on using a door skin for a later model, the position
of the handle needs to be moved forwards
The door handle is positioned 1/2in. further back.
door locks can't use a 302 door with a 301 post (or vice versa) since the door lock is totally different '69 doorlock is more anti-burst proof (supposedly)
seats   squarer shaped seats of different 'Amblair' pattern
heater housing metal plastic
steering lock   A steering lock was added in 1971.
Hence different wiring loom.
wheel trim   The width (depth) of the rim was reduced by 1/4" from 1971 (1970 ?) on.
production no.s 4,735 ± 3,378


It has the Imp Sport engine. 68mm x 60.375mm, 875cc single OHC aluminium. Twin Stromberg 125CD carbs, new cylinderhead with improved gasflow and larger inlet valves, higher lift cam, stronger pistons, oil cooler, 6in. Laycock diaphragm self-adjusting clutch.
The superb standard Imp gearbox, all synchromesh. 0-50 in 10.6 secs ('Motor' road test)
Top speed 90mph.
Fully independent suspension. Girling system servo assisted brakes, 8in. drums, swept area.
Full safety-standard dashboard with matt-bevelled instruments. Plus new 15in. padded leathercloth covered steering wheel.
Wind-up windows. Headlamp flasher. Carpet, wall-to-wall. Through-flow heating and ventilation. Plus: sublimely comfortable front reclining seats. A lockable glove box. Padded arm rests. Beautiful, breathable Amblair upholstery. Individual fold-down rear seats. Curved side windows.
Outside: Great trim. Black vinyl covered roof on the raking fastback. And four headlights to bring a little light in your life.
813 (recommended price, ex-works inc. p.t. Seat belts extra)

From an advert:

See also the 1968 advert on Russel's site: The most compact

Mind what you sit upon ;-)
The Trade name for the material used for the seats is 'Amblair'. This material was only used on the Stiletto. It is supposed to breathe...

Model Registrar (The Imp CLub)
Peter Nunney
21 Lower Fern Road, Aller Park, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 4TQ.

From his report (Impressions January 1988 and February 1996):
Stilettos in club: 294 in 1988, 278 in 1996

 Sunbeam Stiletto press photo Ref. R61805
Sunbeam Stiletto press photo Ref. R61805

Earliest Stiletto in club: B301 000017 HCO (= 17th Stiletto produced). Registration: October 1967.
Last one from the 301 series (in club): B301 004838 HCO. Registration: February 1969,
But they started numbering at 000100, so the total number for the 301 series is 4,738 as far as is known.
Earliest one from the 302 series: B 302 000121 (it's in Eire). Registration January 1969
Latest Stiletto in 302 series: LH 302 720553 BSA. Registration: August 1972. (Mind you: from '69 on, the chassis numbers didn't count the types, but Imps in general. Total amount of 302 Stilettos is 3,378). (Theoretically the last Stiletto was the 6th Imp from last made).
So the total of Stilettos is about 8,900.
55% of Stilettos on register have been modified
41% still use the original engine.
20% have alloy wheels fitted.
11% have increased engine capacity (usually 998cc) (18 % in 1988)
0.3% have been modified past 998 (1200cc ?)
7% are owned by females
18% are not in their original colour
Most popular colour in 1988: Polar White
1996: 19% are Polar White, 18% are red (incl. Claret Metallic), 24% are blue (incl. Turquoise Metallic and Aquarius Metallic), 15% are green (incl. the various metallic greens and the rather vivid Limelight). The remaining 24% are the golds, silvers, bronzes etc.

National Day 1996 -- photo: Ken Pape

SUNBEAM Stiletto   SUNBEAM Stiletto   SUNBEAM Stiletto

  Code R6817D (Zoom!)   Réf. 137/EX/FR

Four cylinder overhead camshaft unit positioned at rear of car. Extensive use of aluminium alloy die-castings for light construction. Zenith/ Stromberg 125 CDS twin side-draught variable choke carburettors. Oil cooler. Bore and Stroke 2.677 in. (68 mm.), 2.377 in. (60.375 mm.). Cubic capacity 53.41 (875 cc).
Compression ratio 10 : 1.
Engine develops maximum 55 b.h.p. at 6,100 r.p.m. and 55.6 lb.ft. maximum torque at 4,300 r.p.m.

  Viercilinder kopkleppenmotor met bovenliggende nokkenas, achterin gemonteerd. Zeer lichte constructie door veelvuldig gebruik van gegoten aluminiumlegering.
Dubbele 125 CDS carburators met eranderlijk debiet. Oliekoeler. Boring en slag 68 mm x 60,38 mm. Cilinderinhoud 875 cc. Compressieverhouding 10:1. Maximum vermogen : 55 PK bij 6.100 omw/min en maximaal motorkoppel van 7,69 kgm bij 4.300 omw/min
  Quatre cylindres, arbre à cames en tête, placé à l'arrière de la voiture. Emploi intensif de pièces coulées en alliage d'aluminium. réduisant considérablement le poids. Carburateurs horizontaux Zénith Stromberg 125 CD jumelés à diffuseurs variables. Refroidisseur d'huile.
Alésage et course: 68 mm. x 60,375 mm.
Cylindrée 875 cm3. Taux de compression 10 à 1.
Puissance maximum 55 CV à 6.100 et couple maximum 7,687 mkg. à 4.300 tr/mn.
Coil and distributor with fully automatic centrifugal and vacuum advance control. Champion N9Y type sparking plugs.   ?Bobine en stroomverdeler met volautomatische en vacuumontstekingsverstelling Champion N9Y bougies.    
Centrifugal pump and fan, thermostatic control for more rapid warm-up, pressurised radiator located on left of engine.   ?Centrifugale pomp en ventilator, met thermostaatkontrole. Radiateur onder druk, links van de motor gemonteerd.   Pompe à eau centrifuge et ventilateur
6¼ in. diameter Laycock diaphragm, self-adjusting, hydraulically operated from pendant pedal with light pedal load.   ?Laycock diafragmakoppeling, zelfbijregelend, plaat van 15,9 cm diameter. Hydraulisch bediend met hangend pedaal.   Laycock, de 159 mm. de diamètre, type à ressort diaphragme, commande hydraulique par pédale suspendue.
Four forward gears and reverse, with synchromesh on all forward gears. Aluminium alloy die-cast gearbox casing. A centre floor gearchange is fitted. Overall ratios: Top 4.138 : 1, Third 5.702 : l, Second 8.905 : 1, First 16.595 : 1, Reverse 13.824 : 1.   ?Vier gesynchronizeerde versnellingen vooruit en een achteruit. Aluminium versnellingsbak. Schakelhandel op de vloer. Eind- overbrengingen: rechtstreekse aandrijving 14,4 : 1, derde 5,70 : 1, tweede 8,90 : 1, eerste 16,59 : 1, achteruit 13,82 : 1.   4 vitesses avant, toutes synchronisées et marche AR. Levier de vitesses au plancher. Démultiplications finales: prise directe 4,138:1; troisième 5,702:1; deuxième 8,905:1; première 16,595:1; marche AR 13,824:1
Trans-axle hypoid bevel drive through rubber and universal joint coupling shafts to rear wheels. Ratio 4.857 : 1.   ?Van het halfvrijdragende type met hypoïd vertanding. Aandrijving via rubberen kardankoppelingen naar de achterwielen. Achterasverhouding 4,86 : 1.   Couple conique hypoïde et arbres de roues roues oscillants avec accouplements élastiques et joints de cardan. Rapport 4,857:1
Fully independent coil springs and swing axle. Telescopic shock absorbers are housed down the centre of each coil spring.   ?Volledig onafhankelijk door schommelassen en schroefveren, waarin een telescopische schokbreker is gemonteerd.   A roues indépendantes par ressorts hélicoïdaux et essieu oscillant.
Amortisseurs télescopiques.
Fully independent coil springs and trailing links on detachable sub-frames.
Telescopic shock absorbers.
  ?Volledig onafhankelijk door schroefveren en telescopische schokbrekers. Schommelarmen verbonden met afzonderlijke hulpchassis.   A roues indépendantes. Ressorts hélicoïdaux et bras oscillants montés sur des cadre amovible.
Amortisseurs télescopiques
Girling system servo-assisted, hydraulic operation 8 in. diameter brake drums with 150 swept area. Handbrake positioned on floor between front seats operates mechanically on rear wheels.   ?Girling servo-bekrachtigde trommelremmen met 20,3 cm diameter, hydraulisch bediend. Remoppervlak 967 cm2. Mechanische handrem op de achterwielen, handel centraal op de vloer gemonteerd.   Hydrauliques Girling assistés par servo. Tambours 203 mm. de diamètre. Surface de freinage 967 cm2

Rack and pinion unit with greaseless steering linkage. Three-spoke steering wheel, 15 in. diameter, padded black leathercloth-covered rim.

  ?Tandheugelbesturing. Geen smeerpunten. Driespakig stuurwiel met 38,1 cm diameter, bekleed met zwart simili-leder.
Draaicirkeldiameter 9,30 m.
  A crémaillère avec timonerie sans raccords de graissage. Volant à trois branches de 38,1 cm. de diamètre, garni simili-cuir noir.
Five pressed steel wheels. Safety ledge rims. 4 wheel trim discs. Spare wheel housed in front luggage compartment.   ?Vijf wielen van geperst staal met veiligheidsrand. Vier sierwieldoppen. Reservewiel opgeborgen in de bagagekoffer vooraan in de wagen.    
155 x 12 in. tubeless radial ply.   ?Tubeless radiaalbanden 155 x 12.   Tubeless 5,50 x 12 à carcasse radiale.

6 gallon capacity, located under front luggage compartment floor.   ?Inhoud 27 liter. Gemonteerd onder de vloer van de bagagekoffer.   Contenance 27 litres
of chassis and body forming a single structure of strength and rigidity.   ?Chassis en carrosserie vormen een enkele uiterst stijve en soliede constructie. Fastback lijn.   Carrosserie et châssis formant une structure intégrale robuste et rigide avec pavillon style 'fast-back'.
100 mph speedometer, rev. counter, fuel and water temperature gauges and warning lights for flashing indicators, oil pressure, headlamp main beam and ignition.   ?Snelheidsmeter tot 180 km/u, dagteller, kilometerteller, bezinestandmeter, watertemperatuurmeter, toerenteller, verklikkerlichtjes voor ontsteking, oliedruk, koplampen en richtingaanwijzers.   Batterie 12 volts. 4 phares avec blocs optiques scellés.
12 v. battery located in right-hand rear wing. Negative earth. Four sealed beam headlamps. Interior light and panel illumination.   ?12 volts accu, rechts van de motor gemonteerd. 'Sealed beam' koplampen, interieur- en instrumentenbordverlichting. Negatieve massaverbinding.   Compteur kilométrique, gradué jusqu'à 160 km/h., jauge à essence, compte-tours, thermomètre à eau, ampèremètre, voyants d'allumage et de pression d'huile, répétiteurs de phares et de clignotants de direction.
Fully reclining front seats, self-parking screen wipers, two sun visors, headlamp flasher switch, zone toughened windscreen, built-in heating and ventilation with blower, screen washers, four stowage pockets, lockable cubby box, swiveling front quarter-lights, two ashtrays. Rear seating is divided. Door-operated interior light, twin-tone horns, wheel trim discs.   ?Afzonderlijke, volledig neerklapbare voorzetels, gescheiden achterbank, ruitewissers met automatische terugkeer, ruitesproeiers, twee zonneschermen, lichtklaxon, voorruit met zone van veiligheidsglas, verwarmings- en luchtverversingssysteem met ventilator, vier opbergruimten in de zijwanden, vergrendelbaar handschoenkastje, ventilatieruitjes vooraan, tapijt op de vloer, drie asbakjes, gecapitonneerde armsteunen achteraan, automatische interieurverlichting, klaxon met twee tonen.   Sièges avant inclinables, essuie-glace à retour automatique, deux pare-soleil, interrupteur d'appels de phares, chauffage et aeration avec ventilateur, lave-glace, quatre grandes poches de rangement, boîte à gants verrouillable, déflecteurs avant, plancher recouvert de tapis, deux cendriers. Plafonnier s'allumant à l'ouverture des portes, disques enjoliveurs de roues.
Unladen (with petrol and water) 1,625 lb.
Dry (without petrol and water) 1,566 lb.
  ?(Bij benadering) Onbelast - rijklaar (met benzine en water) 737 kg, droog (zonder benzine en water) 711 kg.  

A vide, avec essence et eau 737 kg.
A sec, sans essence ni eau 714 kg.

An attractive range of colour schemes is avaliable. Ask your dealer for full details. Coice of metallic colours offered at extra costs. All Stiletto colour schemes include black leathercloth roof covering.   ?Een uitgebreide reeks fraaie kleurkombinaties is verkrijgbaar. Uw dealer zal u hierover gaarne alle gewenste inlichtingen geven.    
The following extra is available ex-factory at addictional cost and can only be specified at the time of placing the order: White-wall tyres.        
(Available at extra cost). A very full and attractive range of accessoiries is available, including Smiths radiomobile, fog and reversing lamps, etc. Full details are available in the Special Accessory literature which can be obtained from your Sunbeam Dealer.   ?(Verkrijgbaar tegen bijbetaling) Een uitgebreide reeks aantrekkelijke accessoires is verkrijgbaar o.m. een autoradio, mistlampen, dieptestralers, achteruitrij-lampen, veiligheidsgordels, enz. Volledige details vind u in een speciale brochure die uw dealer u gaarne verschaft.    
Dimensions   AFMETINGEN   Dimensions
dimensions of the Sunbeam Stiletto
A Overall length over bumpers 139 3.531   Wagenlengte 3,53 A Longueur hors tout (y compris les pare-chocs) 3,531
B Front overhang 23¼ 0.591   Overbouw voor 0,59 B Porte a-faux avant 0,591
C Wheelbase 82 2.083   Wielbasis 2,08 C Empattement 2,083
D Rear overhang 33 3/4 0.857   Overbouw achter 0.86 D Porte-a-faux arriere 0,857
E Overall height 52½     Wagenhoogte 1,33 E Hauteur hors tout 1.333
F Passenger compartment length 72 1.829       F    
G Windscreen depth 18 0.457   Schuine hoogte van de voorruit 0,49 G Hauteur du pare-brise 0,489
H* Front headroom 39     Hoofdruimte voor 0.98 H Hauteur libre avant 0,990
J Maximum interior height 43½ 1.105   Maximum binnenhoogte 1,07 J Hauteur interieure maximum 1,067
K* Rear headroom 35 0.940   Hoofdruimte achter 0,89 K Hauteur libre arrière 0,889
L Pedals to seat cushion
22 0.559   Afstand van pedalen tot voorzetel
0,56 L Des pédales au siège avant (max.) 0,508
16½ 0.419  
M Front cushion height 11 0.279   Hoogte van de voorzetel 0,28 M Hauteur des sièges avant 0,279
N Rear cushion height 12½ 0.318   Hoogte van de achterbank 0,27 N Hauteur de la banquette arrière 0,267
O Ground clearance
6.25     Vrije hoogte van de grondl
0,14 O Garde au sol (en charge) 0,159
P Steering wheel to front squab
16 0.402   Afstand van stuurwiel tot rugleuning
0,41 P Du volant au dossier avant (max.) 0,419
10½ 0.267  
Q Projected windscreen width 44½ 1.130   Breedte van de voorruit 1,13 Q Largeur du pare-brise (projetée) 1,130
R Front elbow room 51 1.295   Breedte voor op ellebooghoogte 1,29 R Largeur intérieure avant à hauteur des coudes 1,295
S Interior width at car waist 48½ 1.232   Binnenbreedte op halve wagenhoogte 1,19 S Largeur intérieure à mi-hauteur de la voiture 1,194
T Rear hip room 44 1.118   Breedte achter op heuphoogte 1,12 T Largeur intérieure arrière 1,118
U Rear seat depth 17 0.432   Diepte van de achterzitbank 0,36 U Profondeur de la banquette arrière 0,381
V Front seat depth 17¼ 0.438   Diepte van de voorzetel 0,44 V Profondeur des sieges avant 0,444
W Front seat width 21 0.533   Breedte van de voorzetel 0,53 W Largeur d'un siège avant 0,508
X Rear elbow room 51.5 1.308   Breedte achier op ellebooghoogte 1,31 X Largeur arrière à hauteur des coudes 1,308
Y Door opening gap 37 0.940   Breedte van de deuropening 0.94 Y Largeur d'ouverture des portes 0,940
Z Backlight aperture width 40½ 1.029       Z    
AA Overall width 60.25 1.530   Wagenbreedte 1,53 AA Largeur hors tout 1,530
BB Backlight aperture projected height 12½ 0.318            
CC Backlight aperture actual height 16½ 0.419            
DD Luggage compartment depth
50 1.270   Diepte van de bagager. binnenin
    Longueur du compartiment à bagages (max.) 1,270
44.5 1.130  
EE Luggage capacity - front 3.25cu. ft. 0.092 cu.m.   Inhoud bagagekoffer voor 92 dm3   Volume du coffre à bagages (avant) 0,092 m3
FF Luggage capacity - rear       Inhoud bagageruimte achter     Volume du compartiment à bagages arrière  
(4 seater)
3.5 cu. ft. 0.142 cu.m.  
met 4 pl.
99 dm3  
4 places
0,099 m3
(3 seater)
9.25 cu. ft. 0.467 cu.m.  
met 3 pl.
262 dm3  
3 places
0,262 m3
(2 seater)
15 cu.ft.    
met 2 pl.
425 dm3  
2 places
0,425 m3
  Track front 49½ 1.257            
  Track rear 48½ in. 1.232            
  Turning circle 30½ ft. 9.296   zie bij Stuursysteem    
Note: All dimensions are approximate and are taken with the vehicle in an unladen condition        
* Dimensions marked * allow for 2 in. (50.8 mm.) cushion compression.   In deze afmetingen is 5 cm begrepen voor het indrukken van de kussens.  


If, for a coupé rebuild, you want to modify an Imp saloon door, bear in mind that not only is the saloon taller, but it uses flat glass, and the coupé curved glass.

Sunbeam Stiletto (track no. 7 on 'For Fruitbats Pleasures Only' - 1987) by A Tribe of Toffs
Toffs recordings makes the track available as an asf.

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© Franka

Oxford dictionary:
Stiletto   small dagger with a tapering blade

Van Dale:
Stiletto   knife with a hinging blade [mes met scharnierend lemmet] <it. stiletto, diminutive of stilo <lat. stilus [the (sharp pointed) writing pen]

Then she says she needs affection
while she searches for the vein
She's so good with her stiletto
you don't really mind the pain

"Stiletto" / Billy Joel, 52nd Street

In Italy, in the beginning of the 17th century the stiletto was developed, a weapon designed solely for stabbing. It appeared in France soon after France's King Henry IV was stabbed to death in 1610, and it got associated with the murder. In the second half of that century many stiletto-related crimes were reported.

Henry's assassination by stabbing produced an anti-knife sentiment, and eventually the Royal Stiletto Ban of 1700 was decreed. The Stiletto was the first knife in known history to get banned. (The knife used by the assassin, however, was a kitchen knife stolen from an inn.)